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Brand Identity: What it is & how to keep it

Brand = Colors + Fonts + Logo + Tagline.

Right?

Yes. Sort of. Well, no. Not really. What you’ve got is a visual brand identity. What you need is a clear understanding of what your business stands for, what your goal is and how you project that to the public. An ethical identity, if you will. This guiding ethos will dictate whether or not your organization joins in on the trendy hashtag craze of the day or if you make statement on the latest cultural event – if so what that statement is. This is where many companies, large and small, go wrong. Either they don’t know the information or they know it but don’t stay true to it, especially in social media.

Social media has changed the marketing game in so many ways. Thanks to Facebook, Twitter and their social media friends, marketing is now a 24/7/365 event. It involves multiple channels with people interacting nonstop, which mean a lot of marketing is now done on the fly without a safety net. This, my friend, is scary. It is either an invitation to disaster, DiGiorno and #whyIstayed we are looking at you, or it’s a great moment waiting to happen–ALS we see you and your ice bucket challenge.

So how do you navigate social media while remaining true to your brand? Well, we would like to tell you that it is rocket science and only a few, namely rustmedia, have mastered it. However, that’s just not true and we don’t want to lie. It’s actually a lot simpler than you’d think.

Use your instincts. Yep, those same little guiding voices in your head that guide you a daily. They have helped you create a customer base and help you decide what your customers want from you whether it be a product or a service, and they won’t let you down now.

Do your research. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Look at what the companies in your industry or companies that you admire are doing and emulate them.

Stop and ask yourself why. As we said before, it’s easy to get caught up in wanting to be trendy. But before you post, comment or tweet, stop and ask yourself what benefit it is bringing to your brand or business? Will it help drive sales? Will it spark a worthwhile conversation applicable to your brand? Also would you say it to a customer in-person? If you can’t answer these questions with an affirmative, then it’s probably best to sit this one out.

Create a brand guide. A lot of times brand guides are thought to be strictly for visual elements but you do this for your ethical identity as well. Write down your mission, what your company believes in, the charities and causes it supports, anything that might be a guiding force when making decisions. Then as new people join your organization or you expand use this guide to help educate others on your brand’s ethical identity. Also keep printed or easily accessible online versions available for quick reference.

We know that social media marketing (or any marketing for that matter) can be daunting. But the key to successful social media marketing is remembering that it is nothing more than a conversation with your customers. It’s an opportunity to get to know one another, so treat it as such. And of course we are always here to help.